Protocol to take the lead on water
THE WA Education Department says it is supporting a nationally-agreed sampling protocol for testing water to mitigate the risk of lead contamination in schools.
The Federal Department of Health is working with states and territories to mitigate the risk of lead contamination in schools stemming from plumbing products.
A Health Department spokeswoman said the Environmental Health Standing Committee (enHealth) has tasked its Water Quality Expert Reference Panel to develop nationally-agreed sampling protocols for water testing inside buildings and guidance to mitigate the risk in schools.
“This work is currently under way with the expectation that the protocol will be available prior to the commencement of the 2019 school year,” she said.
At the start of the 2018 school year, bottled water was handed out to students at 11 new WA schools after elevated lead levels were detected at some schools.
The testing regime was implemented in the wake of ongoing lead problems at Perth Children’s Hospital.
Concerns the same brass fittings at the centre of the lead problem could have been used in schools also led the State Government to institute flushing of school water systems before the start of each academic year, to minimise the risk of elevated lead levels.
An Education Department spokeswoman said the flushing program will continue during the summer holidays.